Ep. 137: How Toxic Are You and Your Environment? Understanding Epigenetics and How to Clean Up Your Exposure Inside and Out with Dr. Ann Shippy
Dr. Ann Shippy, a former chemical engineer who went to medical school and now practices functional medicine in Austin, tells us how she herself has used the understanding of identifying toxic exposure and addressing it, as well as epigenetics, to heal and overcome great difficulties in her own life–and how you can do the same.
LINKS AND RESOURCES:
Connect with Dr. Ann Shippy
Learn more about mold exposure
Robyn: Hi there, it’s Robyn Openshaw and Welcome back to the Vibe show. I hope you’re having an amazing Summer. I hope you’re getting outside and taking a lot of deep breaths and getting in the sunshine. Remember, it charges your battery. Remember, getting in contact with earth helps you discharge electrons and protons you don’t need onto the ground. Remember, this is a great chance during the summer to raise your vitamin D levels to get through the winter with a stable mood next winter. And so get outside and do whatever it is you love out there. Hike or play tennis or throw a Frisbee with the kids. Find something new and creative to do this summer.
I’m about to leave for the southern Swiss Alps for my annual liver detox. If you’re not coming with me this year, we still have spots in Doctor Tom O’Bryan’s weeks, which are, I believe in November. So you can write us at greensmoothiegirl.com, look at the site and contact us there or on the Green Smoothie Girl page on Facebook. Let us know if you want the link to take a look at coming with Dr. Tom O’Bryan, my amazing colleague who’s running some weeks later this year. Pretty much everybody else is sold out. Ben Greenfield, one of the world’s leading bio hackers is sold out for his. Doctor Jill Carnahan who you’ve heard from before on this show, she’s a mold and toxicity expert, medical doctor in Boulder, Colorado. I think she’s pretty darn close to sold out if she hasn’t. Magdalena Schlocky who’s been there before with me actually, they both have gone before, she’s taking a bunch of her followers over who are getting their hormones corrected.
So lots of exciting things going on on the other side of the world. I’ll be leaving soon, but before I did, I wanted to interview a friend of mine named Dr. Ann Shippy. She’s a medical doctor who is on a mission to take advantage of the latest genetic research science testing to find and treat root cause. Not just the symptoms but the cause of illness. She was an IBM chemical engineer and probably partly due to her profession, she got very sick. And she became frustrated that the traditional medicine wasn’t really helping her. So after a decade in engineering, she went to medical school, she went to University of Texas medical school and now she has a long wait list in her thriving functional medicine practice in Austin, Texas.
So we’re going to talk to her a lot about toxicity. We’re going to touch a little bit on genetics. We’re going to talk mold, how she turned things around, why she went into functional medicine and what we can learn from the amazing Dr. Ann Shippy.
So welcome to the Vibe show Doctor Ann Shippy.
Dr. Shippy: Hi Robyn. Great to talk to you today.
Robyn: Yeah, I’ve been meaning to reconnect with you for quite a while and I’m excited to hear what you have to share with my audience today. We call Doctor Ann Shippy, who also happens to be a very beautiful creature physically, like you just must see her to appreciate her. We call her Shippy Doc. Where did that even come from?
Dr. Shippy: Well, that’s a term that JJ came up with for me. It’s part of my email address, so it’s just shippy and then doc, so instead of calling me Ann or Doctor Shippy, she calls me Shippy Doc and then it’s just taken off.
Robyn: Okay. Well I like it. For some reason it sticks in my brain. So Shippy Doc, tell us, you were a traditionally trained medical doctor, now you’re really exclusively functional medicine. I don’t know if you do any, you know, drug or anything inside of the old standard of care model, but what’s your personal story? I know that you were unwell. Tell us a little bit more detail about. It just seems to me that all the functional medicine doctors or the vast majority of them got sick and change their practice in part because of their own personal crisis. Is that true for you?
Dr. Shippy: That is very true for me and I’ve had multiple medical crises that have definitely changed the course of my life tremendously. The first one was I was a chemical engineer for IBM for 10 years. I really loved working for IBM. I was working on getting chemicals out of our manufacturing processes and you know, having a cleaner, effect on the environment. Loved it. But I got really sick after going on vacation. And I went from doctor to doctor and nobody could really explain to me what happened to me or what I could do to get better. So it was before the Internet and I had to just really think outside the box.
So I got all kinds of books I could read. And then I tried some integrative things like I went to an acupuncturist and a nutritionist, a naturopath. I tried a macrobiotic diet, an Ayurvedic diet. I just was searching because I knew there was this turning point where I was feeling pretty well able to have a very successful career and all of a sudden I was just barely struggling to survive. And it just made sense to me that there would be some answers. And so I finally got the pieces of the puzzle to get well. And then I woke up one morning and decided to go to medical school in my 30’s. And I knew that there was a different way to practice medicine. I knew that if we really got to the root cause of why things were going awry, we could help the body to heal.
Robyn: How’d you find a specialty in medical school? If you are already starting to think more holistically and you weren’t in your 20’s like probably most people in medical school and you probably had more critical thinking skills and you’d already been sick from probably your exposure to chemicals. You can say more about that if you want to. How did that go for you being inside that standard of care model? Were you already starting to feel the pinch of that box around you in medical school?
Dr. Shippy: Well, I fully think that there are some amazing things with allopathic medicine. You know, some of the things that I was learning in medical school, you know, my months and months of training in the ICU, we were saving people’s lives with medications and with procedures. So I really wanted to understand that side of medicine deeply. And so I ended up in internal medicine, which I think is kind of one of the nerdier practices of medicine. If somebody is having a symptom and they’re thinking very deeply at the different diagnosis of what the diagnosis could be. But the place that it really stopped short was then to take it another step. And once you got a diagnosis, thinking about what were the contributing factors for that diagnosis to even occur.
So things like, you know, MS and Parkinson’s and autoimmune thyroid disease, you know, it would help us to get to that diagnosis and think about what medications could be used but not then how do we reverse it. So I still feel like that was a really great foundation for me to really learn that method of thinking and considering what’s going on. And then using my chemical engineering background where really looking deeply at data and opposing hypothesis and solving problems. It was a great integration for me.
So I had a child in med school and a child in residency. So when I was done, I knew I wanted to still find the next piece of the puzzle. How do I practice medicine differently? But I had a one year old and a five year old and I was kind of worn out and tired. So I went into an internal medicine practice and that was wonderful for fine tuning those internal medicine skills and really learning how to run a medical practice and take care of patients even more than residency does. But then I got sick again, which was fortunate because that’s when functional medicines finally started being on the map. When I went to my first functional medicine conference, there were about 40 of us in a little hotel room in Washington.
So I felt very fortunate that I found it at the time that I did because I had developed a couple of auto immune disorders, one of which really increases your risk for having a stroke. So, then with functional medicine, really looking at the system as a whole and having more tools in my toolbox to look and see what’s going on with more in depth laboratory testing, I was able to reverse those auto immune disorders. But then that’s when it really hit me, like I could not stay in the allopathic model anymore where I had to see 20 patients in a day just to pay my overhead. I really needed to start my own practice and practice medicine the way that I wish I had had it when I was so sick.
Robyn: So I’m going to start asking every functional medicine practitioner have on here how they define functional medicine just because the answers are interesting.
Dr. Shippy: Yeah, cause we kind of apply it to our own how we take care of patients. And we’re a little bit like herding cats because we’re out of the box thinkers, we’re not just running a protocol. So for me, and especially having my engineering background, it’s really listening deeply to what the patient’s story is. Like, what’s accumulated in their life, mind, body, spirit, their experiences. And then looking deeply at what their symptoms are, their family history and then delving into, you know, using my experience but then also using the patient’s data. I’m a data person. I really like to look at genetics. I like to look to see what environmental toxins they have, what their nutritional status is, how their mitochondria are working, and then integrate that together to find a journey to addressing the things that we find in the laboratory and see how their body responds until we get the symptoms reversed.
Robyn: Are you seeing what I am in functional medicine that more and more people want to get in on the game? And so people who don’t really have the deep training in it or background in it are sort of getting into it, but really peripherally and mostly doing standard of care. And then, you know, dabbling a little bit in supplements. Do you see a lot of the practitioners kind of doing the same labs on everybody and putting everybody in the same supplement lines? I’m a little worried about what’s going on in functional medicine is what I’m saying. What do you think?
Dr. Shippy: I do see that. I do see that it’s almost like a rote where everybody gets the same plan and using the same things. The wonderful thing about functional medicine is that anybody with a medical background of any kind can go through the training. So you can be a physician, an MD or DO, you can be an acupuncturist, a pharmacist, a nutritionist. It’s really a very accepting community of likeminded practitioners that really want to take care of their patients in it a more broad, deep way. But I think part of the problem that happens is that sometimes people end up practicing outside their scope of practice. So you know, somebody who’s been trained in acupuncture, oriental medicine, you know, still might need to refer to an MD because there are times where you need allopathic medicine to fully diagnose and treat a problem. And I think sometimes that’s not happening. If somebody has a brain tumor going on, they need the right tests ordered to find the brain tumor.
Robyn: Right. And to remove it. And in case my audience ever thinks that I’m so holistic leaning that I’m one of these, angry folks who doesn’t recognize the amazing breakthroughs in allopathic medicine. I just want to remind everyone that I would be dead if it weren’t for at the age of 27 an allopathic doctor cutting me open in the middle of the night while I was on vacation and taking out my ruptured ectopic pregnancy. And so, while I really don’t want to participate in their protocols the vast majority of the time. I absolutely am grateful that I am not dead because of that.
Dr. Shippy: Yeah, you would have died. So that’s exactly where I feel like I like some of that kind of thing is missing. And then, you know, just had a patient come in this week that has an early dementia. He’s 50, and he’s pretty significantly having cognitive decline. And a functional medicine practitioner with a chiropractic background, had been working with him for a couple of years and not making much progress and I think some of that is just that there’s some testing and some things beyond the scope of the chiropractic care that also need to be done to help this patient.
Robyn: Okay. I’m super concerned about the meteoric rise in cognitive decline and in neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Alzheimer’s, Dementia. And I know that some of my colleagues are pretty excited about Dale Bredesen’s work. And our mutual friend Tom O’Bryan has connected the clinic in Switzerland, that I’m about to leave to go do my three weeks of liver detoxes there, they’ve got them trained in the Bredesen protocol. What do you think’s going to happen? What is functional medicine going to do? What are the breakthroughs? Are they going to be able to slow down this terrible trend of so many of us losing our cognitive function? You said your patient was 50. Being older than that myself and relying on my mind to do my work, which my work lights me up every day. What do we have to look forward to? Give us some hope here.
Dr. Shippy: I see tremendous changes in being able to reverse a lot of these disorders in the cognitive decline. You want to call it Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, a lot of these auto immune disorders, MS and Hashimoto’s. I see it every day where depending on what the patient’s willing to do, right, either completely reverse it or at least stabilize it. But it’s very, very likely that we’re going to be able to have solutions for most people. The even better thing would be to be able to prevent it.
I love it when I have somebody come in that’s really proactive that either they know something in their family history or they start to put some puzzle pieces together. Like I know I had a big environmental exposure because I was in the air conditioning or construction business or something like that, or I had a hobby where I love to make art or that that was actually their career where they start to put the puzzle pieces of the book together that they know that they’ve had some type of an exposure that might be filling up their barrel. Or that they were on long term antibiotics, that their microbiome might have gotten shifted. So part of what I think we want to be doing with people is helping them to know when they’re more at risk and can be doing things to even prevent these really serious disorders from happening in the first place.
Robyn: You mentioned filling up the barrel and I bet I’ve had 15 different functional medicine practitioners on this show refer to, you know, Steven Cabral talked about the Rain Barrel Effect, the name of his book. You’ve mentioned it. I think Jill Carnahan, our colleague, who like you, works a lot in detoxifying people, identifying sources of toxicity like you’re alluding to, she calls it the bucket. And so we’re just seeing this metaphor. We should probably like organize around one metaphor, is it a bucket or is it a barrel?
But, talk a little bit about that. Let’s talk about you know so many people are talking about ridding your body of toxins. And I try to be as specific as I can. You know I have a career in helping detoxify people. We’ve taken 16,000 people through a very detailed process and some of them do it twice a year. And we’ve had people do it up to 16, 17 times.
Dr. Shippy: Hey Robyn, I don’t know if I told you this, but one of the first books that I got for my reception area was your book.
Robyn: Oh, the detox? Well good. And now you’re deep in it too. But people are always talking about it in this really vague way. Like oh the toxins. And I have a good friend who’s a medical doctor and she mocks this hard. She’s like, what are these toxins? Is this just something that people are making up? But clearly you know different and you are measuring it. What are you measuring in your patients? And what do most people not know about their everyday toxic exposures?
Dr. Shippy: Yeah. I want to just comment on your friend. So I think one of the problems that’s happening in the medical field is that doctors are so geared towards doing their continuing medical education with the drug companies having an influence in what’s being taught. If people actually go to pub med and search on toxins, there’s so much data going on there that you cannot like, it’s almost like, a conversation of are leaves green, can leaves be green? It’s just so factual down to the detailed mechanisms of what the toxins are doing in the human body and even influencing what the genes are doing. It’s not even worth having the conversation. But back to your question, sorry, you caught me on my soapbox.
I love the different laboratories that are helping us to have this window into toxicity. So I do things like check for heavy metals with an oral chelating agent where we can see what metals have actually built up in the body and get them to come out with the chelating agent. So lead and mercury and other heavy metals. One of the things that I am astounded by is the level of glyphosate that I’m seeing in patients that I check for that because it’s such a significant disruptor for the microbiome and for the hormonal systems.
Robyn: Stop for a second and say more about that because I talk constantly about glyphosate on the Green Smoothie Girl Facebook page, but I think we’re going to be saying a lot more about it here on the podcast because I think glyphosate is one of the like top five risks to our health. And lots of countries are organizing against it. Costco’s going to ban products with glyphosate. France is phasing out all products with glyphosate in the next three years. There are some major organizations and countries that are locking it down because of the damage of hundreds of millions of tons of it all over the planet now.
But say more about glyphosate and what you know about that because we do really need to educate more about that. Glyphosate is “RoundUp” would be the brand name everyone, but it’s actually in about 700 different, I call them the “ides”. Mostly herbicides, so herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, and some other one that I’m forgetting right now. But anyway, talk more about glyphosate and the risk there and the microbiome.
Dr. Shippy: Right. There’s so many aspects of glyphosate, so one is with the microbiome, is that it’s actually disrupting the mucous membrane. And so it’s changing what the immune system is doing. So it’s leading to, I’m sure your audience is familiar with the leaky gut, so it’s making the gut more leaky. And so then we’re seeing more incidents of gluten sensitivity. But then it’s also because the immune system is shifting. It’s shifting what microbes are more prevalent in the microbiome. So it’s increasing things like small bowel overgrowth. I’m seeing so much of that where some of the organisms that aren’t necessarily bad organisms to have are having a party. And then that leads to people having to tremendously change their diet so that they’re not feeding those organisms more. And then sometimes taking antibiotics or herbals to help to knock those down. So it’s kind of a constant battle that people get into with trying to get their gastrointestinal system right.
Then there’s evidence now that it’s linked with something called epigenetics. So an exposure in the prenatal or even preconception period, having the glyphosate in the mother’s body can influence the long term health of the baby and then probably future generations. So we have this whole cascade now that we have glyphosate so ubiquitous in our environment that we really have to stop any additional spraying of this chemical. But we also, you know, the big issue is now we have all these farmers that are really dependent on growing their food this way. And with the cotton as well. So we need a whole movement starting around how do we help the farmers get out of this mess with their dependency on it and actually be able to grow food and cotton that doesn’t rely on it.
And then there’s of course all the recent lawsuits and links with cancer. And I think that’s also going to have some epigenetic effects where it’s going to affect future generations. So I have the US lab where I can have glyphosate levels tested in the urine. There are also places where you can check it in the breast milk. So it’s actually getting detoxified out of the woman into the baby through the breast milk. So you definitely want to be as organic as you can when you’re breastfeeding. There’s a lab in Germany that I send blood work to where I’ve had some patients come back where there’s glyphosate sitting on their genes. So then when it’s sitting on the gene, that particular gene isn’t going to work as well and could change the gene expression that way.
Robyn: Okay. Let’s just touch on things that people can do at home. We’re starting to say this kind of stuff all the time. Buying organic. We’ve got to do it and it’s cheaper than ever to buy organics. Costco has hundreds and hundreds of organic products and you see a very clear shift towards the products they’re offering. Didn’t 10 years ago they were just getting started and now they are really insisting on it. There must be some very conscious people in upper management at Costco. Usually we like to do some critical analysis of what companies are doing. Like how Whole Foods Market bought by Amazon now has completely dismantled it’s GMO labeling efforts because Jeff Bezos personally doesn’t believe that there’s anything wrong with genetically modified organisms. But we have companies like Costco, who are saying we are no longer going to carry products that have been sprayed. So what other specific things can people do besides buy more organic? Spend a little more if you have to, vote with your dollars.
Dr. Shippy: So you actually want to filter your water because of the runoff from any agriculture or lawn care, it’s getting into the water supplies and water treatment plants do not do a great job of taking that out. So at least having a reverse osmosis system where you can filter your water at the sink is I think the minimal requirement. It’s great if you can do the whole house, so it’s not going through to your skin as well. And then if you live in an agricultural area, there’s got to be a movement, because they actually spray this out of airplanes, you know, so it’s going into the air and you’re breathing it in as well as it going into the water system. So it’s just increasing that, like I think it’s all going to be us voting with our dollars and influencing with our friends, family and neighbors to get these changes implemented.
Robyn: Yeah, I think we need to speak up too. If our HOA is just asleep at the wheel and hiring whoever to spray. One of our colleagues, Magdalena Wszelaki got her HOA to stop spraying glyphosate. Here in Park City, I’ve been house shopping, not really super actively house shopping but that actually brings me to another question I want to ask you, then I’ll move on to mold from this. But when I was taking a look at a house, the owner told me we hire this company because they don’t use glyphosate, they use a natural substance on the grass. And I was excited about that. Because down where I had moved from, there was no company like that. And so that was exciting.
But I went to look at this house a couple weeks ago and I had seen it online. I had gone through it, you know, how you can take the virtual tour. And I was looking at every single room and I was like, oh my gosh, this is like the house that I want. Because I’ve been in a condo for the last nine months and I like it, but I don’t really like the three story living, like my bedroom on the top and my kitchen in the middle and working in the basement, not a big fan of working in the basement.
So I’m thinking, you know, eventually someday I want to move. And there’s this neighborhood that I want to live in. I’ve just gone to see a few houses over there. Anyways, this house was so beautiful on the main level and the upstairs. I went to see it with yours and my mutual friend Matthew, who is also my realtor. And we went down to the basement and there was 2,600 square feet and it was stacked to the ceiling with trash. Like I think they really had every toy of their kids if they outgrew and just never sent anything to the landfill or to recycling. And I chose not to buy this house, even though I was madly in love with it until I saw that. Because this crawl space was four or five feet deep and we’re talking about a 2,600 square foot footprint. The entire thing was stacked all the way up with stuff. And I just couldn’t make myself put an offer in on it because I was like, there’s going to be mold. I’m going to find out there’s mold.
And so tell me a little bit about, did you have mold toxicity? How many of your patients are you dealing with this issue? With kinds of mold, all kinds of mold make us sick? Just tell us more.
Dr. Shippy: Yeah. So I think we have an epidemic in our country and probably other places in the world as well, for multiple reasons, but just based on what I’m seeing and actually having patients come in from around the country now to see me. So I learned about mold the hard way. Uh, about eight years ago I started having a lot of pain in my body so that I didn’t even want my kids to hug me. My hair was falling out all over the bathroom, my right arm pretty much quit working, I couldn’t hold a full glass of water without it slipping out of my hands sometimes. And I was really scared. You know, I had gone through a couple of crises before this time, I really felt like I might end up dead or disabled.
And I had a patient actually come in one day that saw beyond my facade of everything’s fine cause she had actually gone through mold previously and she demanded that she come to my house cause she could sense it if she got into it. And she told me exactly what type of mold it was, Chaetomium, and not to take any of my belongings and to get out immediately. And I was so scared. I trusted her. That’s what I did. And she was right. I finally found the right way to test the house after going through the wrong way multiple times. And then applied my functional medicine knowledge to figure out how to help my body to detoxify and rebuild. And you know, got back to where I could play tennis. And what I learned in the process was how to recognize mold toxicity and how to get people better.
So there’s a lot of confusion out there, even among most physicians on what mold is. I think most physicians know that it can be a main trigger for allergy and asthma, even though a lot of times with asthma, they’re not looking for it. And that we can get infections that can be lethal with certain types of mold like aspergillus in the lung, if you’re a little bit immunocompromised. And actually a physician in the functional medicine world got misdiagnosed, they missed a fungal infection, a couple months ago and he ended up dying. So it can be a pathogen that’s very severe in some patients.
But what most physicians do not know is that some molds make mycotoxins so, part of their metabolites as they’re growing and living they release these chemical compounds called Mycotoxins or NBoc’s that are poisons. And they can be as severe as like with the Chaetomium did to me it was a severe neurotoxin, all the way down to the things that really are just irritants, you know, they’re not a problem at all. So some of these mycotoxins have been used for biological warfare and some of them have been too toxic to even use for things like chemotherapy. But then there’s like penicillin is used as an antibiotic.
Robyn: Yeah, that makes sense. It’s a mold. And so how’d you even get it in your house? And what’d you do? Like you left your house, you couldn’t even take your belongings. And then what?
Dr. Shippy: Fortunately I was leasing, so you know, the landlord started to try to fix it, but I realized that it was never going to be at a point where I could live in it again. So it’s been an ongoing journey to figure out how to have a building that isn’t susceptible to mold. So that particular house had flashing that wasn’t correct in a chimney. And so when it rained, the water would run down the wall enough to grow mold, but not enough for us to see it along my son’s bedroom wall on the second story and my bedroom wall on the first story and then in the ceiling of the living room.
Robyn: Oh, so you wouldn’t have had any idea there was mold in there.
Dr. Shippy: We had no idea.
Robyn: Was your son sick?
Dr. Shippy: Yeah, he was sick. And that’s one of the, I always say there’s these silver and platinum linings, you know, the number one was that I learned how sick you could be and actually completely get better and heal. Number two was how to help people with mold and how to recognize it. And number three was it probably changed the trajectory of my son’s life because at that time he was in third grade and it was really affecting his capacity to learn. He had a very short fuse like if he had any frustration at all, he would melt down. And so when the teacher would start to introduce a new topic, he couldn’t grasp it. And we had actually had a couple of parent teacher conferences early in the year and she was just at the end of her rope, frustrated with him. And then we had one six weeks later and she almost had forgotten about the problem.
Robyn: Interesting. So is it not just you and your son who had a different reaction to mold? Is it kind of categorical that children have a different reaction to mold toxicity than full grown adults, like you were probably in your 40’s? And how about the elderly? Is there anything you can say about that?
Dr. Shippy: So definitely children and elderly are more susceptible because with the children, you know, they have smaller bodies, so it’s like a higher dose. And then the elderly have had a whole lifetime of having to be able to detoxify. So their barrels are often closer to capacity. But what’s been fascinating is that when I see a whole family, every person has a little bit different symptoms. So one person might have psoriasis and another person might have really severe fatigue. Another person might have the neurological symptoms. Even the Alzheimer’s and memory loss now has been linked with the mold exposure and there’s also some links with Autism.
Robyn: Okay. So we have to bring down the exposure level, get them out of the house, whatever, just like you’ve told us about, and Dr. Jill Carnahan also talked about mold. What things do you then do to rehabilitate someone who’s been through that?
Dr. Shippy: So the number one thing is getting in a clean environment. If somebody doesn’t move, it’s like continuing to add dirty water to the bathtub and trying to clean it at the same time. So that’s foundational. I really like people to have a very clean diet, so we want to have lots of good nutrients coming in to support the detoxification pathways and cut out the inflammatory foods, which I’m sure your audience is all up on, based on the things that they’ve learned from you.
Robyn: Yeah. But you can still tell us what they are.
Dr. Shippy: So lots of broccoli, cauliflower, the cruciferous vegetables, the high phytonutrient foods like berries, onions, garlic and then minimizing the things like grains, all the gluten family, the corn, and then the moldy foods. So a lot of the grains just inherently in the way that they are grown and stored are moldy. Nuts and seeds need to be kept in the refrigerator and the freezer to prevent them from molding and depending on the season they can even come moldy. And we want to be adding good fats in, so not the inflammatory fat. So the ones that I like are the olives, avocado, and then the nuts and seeds when they’re not moldy. We also want to be careful of things like chocolate and coffee because they can be moldy.
And then we really want to be supporting the detoxification pathways in addition to the foods that support it with like glutahione and then some of the binders and fiber products and things that support making glutathione like NAC and glycine and lots of minerals. I also find that a lot of people, their mitochondria have gotten poisoned. So those are the little organelles inside the cell that make energy to run all the repair and mechanisms that we need going all the time. So CQ10, Carnitine, D-Ribose. And then things that help to heal the cell membranes, like acetylcholine and the choline products can also really be helpful.
Robyn: Well, that was a great cross section. Did you miss one or two? Sorry, I feel like you have more to say about that.
Dr. Shippy: Well, the mitochondrial support really does end up being a foundational issue. I see a lot of these environmental toxins are affecting how well our bodies can make energy and I see this on the labs that I do all the time. There are some markers in the mitochondrial pathway and it’s kind of amazing how many people don’t have a pretty good mitochondrial function. So, yeah, those supplements that help, there’s also another one called neocell or NaD that can be super helpful as well. But what I really want is for people to know to protect their mitochondria before they get sick. You need to be doing these things proactively and that’s why I love what you’re doing, really helping people to get their diets and their environments optimized so that they can defer as much of this ongoing accumulation of the toxins that then attack different places in the body for different people.
Robyn: Yeah, that’s really my goal is, you know, our audience is more of a healthy audience than a lot of our colleagues are who are dealing with sick people and very specific types of sick people. Most of our audience is generally healthy, but they’re very holistic leaning and interested in avoiding some of the fates that we see around us with our siblings, parents, neighbors, friends. And so, you know, my goal is to get in front of more and more people before the crisis, way upstream of it and teach them that we got to drain that bucket. The toxicity is going to be there, okay, we cannot stop the airplanes from blowing the RoundUp all over the place, but we can definitely buy organic, we can definitely do a detox twice a year, which is a big theme of mine.
I know that you’re keen on getting people to detoxify too, and you know what, all these things are a good segue into aging. I know that a lot of your practice in Austin is in anti-aging and there’s something that you say that I like because it’s on my mind a lot lately about aging because I’m like, okay, I’d like to slow it down. I’d like to both age gracefully and let go of over worrying about the signs of aging. Like the signs of aging on my face or on my skin, paying that price for the, all the sunburns, playing tennis that I’ve had since I was, I don’t know, 10.
And on the other hand, I just feel like I’m getting to the place where I have so much to offer. I have so much more to contribute, so much more to say. I know how to not sweat the small stuff now, and I know what the small stuff is, which is almost all of it. I laugh more. I’m easier in my relationships with people. So it’s like I don’t want to lose my health right when I got it figured out. Right? Or start to feel like I’ve got it figured out. And you say that it’s not entirely true, that we’re just inevitably going to go downhill as we age. You say people get better with age. Can you tell more about that?
Dr. Shippy: Yeah. And I’m similar to you where I feel like in so many ways, I’m so much better than I’ve ever been. And I actually feel like with all the work that I’ve done in the different health crisis that I’ve gone through things that I’ve figured out, in so many ways even though I have more wrinkles on my face, I am better than I’ve ever been. So I feel like I’m getting better with age rather than declining. And then I just, you know, what I see with my patients is that that happens all the time. You know, when we help them to detoxify, when we help them to have the nutrients they need in their body and avoid the environmental toxins as much as they can, it’s remarkable how they can actually improve. And one of the things that I do for patients that want to, we look at their telomere length. So your telomeres are supposed to shorten as you age, like it’s this graph that’s just like down, down, down, down, down, down.
Robyn: You should talk about those telomeres cause not everybody necessarily knows that they’re the little, I just think of them as little Scorpion tails, but tell a little bit more about that and then finish.
Dr. Shippy: So it’s basically what holds the DNA in place as it’s activating and kind of unrolling and then rolling back up. And so it’s kind of a place holders for the DNA. And there’s this graph that shows where average is for every age. And what we’ve been able to show is that we can even lengthen those telomeres when we get these right things in place. So yeah, that’s kind of the scientific support to my argument that you can get better with age. We can reverse some of this aging that’s going on by just these simple things. You know, what environment are we putting ourselves in? What are we eating and what supplements do we need to take to support our systems?
Robyn: What supplements do you take? Everyone should know that if you met Shippy Doc, if you met Dr. Ann Shippy and she told you that she was 35, you would 100% believe her, but she’s really 20 plus years older than that. So…
Dr. Shippy: That’s so sweet Robyn. I have a huge pool of supplements that I somewhat go based on what I feel like I need at the time. But then there are certain things that I take every day. I know that my body, and I really think most people need to be taking some magnesium because I see almost everybody is deficient in it. And I think it’s because our food supply doesn’t have the magnesium that it needs in it, the soil is getting so depleted. And then our demand, because what our bodies are dealing with, has increased. So magnesium is like a no brainer for everybody. And then I see almost everybody does need to take some vitamin D. We’re just not getting it, even for people that are out in the sun playing tennis or golfing or whatever, most of the time their vitamin D levels are still low. So most people need 2,000 to 5,000 units of vitamin D a day.
And then for me, based on what I know about my body from having gone through these health crises, I need phosphatidylcholine because that’s one of my best ways to protect myself from getting effected by the environmental toxins. And then I need lyposomal glutathione and specifically that form of it because that actually gets through the digestive system into the bloodstream and into the cells where it needs to be in the form that it needs to be in, whereas if you take other forms it might get digested and then possibly help but no guarantees. And then because I have a Celiac diagnosis as well I need to take some probiotics, maybe not every day, but at least a couple times a week to just help to reseed my microbiome.
And then because I’m so dependent on my brain for being able to help people, I really want to protect it. I take a special form of CoQ10 called mitoQ. And then the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide the NaD that I mentioned earlier, that helps with the Mitochondria. And then I make a green tea most days that I add some D-Ribose to and some cinnamon. Oh, and exercise is such an important piece. I just did a talk on epigenetics, you know how things, that we have in our environment or the food that we’re eating, or the things that we’re doing in our lifestyle influence how well our genes behave. And exercise is such a critical one for getting the genes to go in a positive direction. So if we get at least 20 minutes of exercise every 48 hours, that can make a tremendous change in the trajectory of our health.
Robyn: Apparently, exercise makes us more happy than money does. I just saw a new study that if you fall below a certain threshold and you’re truly in poverty than that’s like an actual problem, but we know that there’s a lot of science about the over and above. And I hesitate to give a dollar amount to it because it changes with time and it’s dependent on some things. But you know, over about $75,000 a year in household income, money doesn’t get you any more happiness, any more life satisfaction. But as it turns out, exercising makes you happier than having more income does. Exercise is worth more than a $20,000 a year increase in your income. And there are lots of people who are like, no, no, no. I would give my left arm for another $20,000 a year in income. But just if anybody needs another little reason to exercise there you go. Yeah. You can tell your patients, you can steal that one Doctor Ann Shippy, you can tell your patients that exercising is worth $20,000 a year at least.
Well, there are going to be people who want to follow you and learn more from you. I know we kinda did a fly by here on the various research subjects that Doctor Shippy likes to dive into in her practice with her own patients. I think she has a very thriving slam packed schedule of patients in Austin, Texas. You can tell us if you have a wait list or if you do or do not even accept new patients, but for people who just want to follow you online, read what you have to say, tell us all of it. Where they can find you.
Dr. Shippy: That’s great. So my website is Ann Shippy MD, so it’s just annshippymd.com. And we have, if people are interested in more on the mold topic with that, at annshippymd.com/mold there’s great resources for helping people figure out am I being affected by mold? And what do I do about it? At least that can get you started. And my practice is very busy, but I am still taking new patients that can take several months to get in. But, that’s one of my favorite things is to help people get on their path. And then we have lots of resources on the website.
Robyn: I love it. Well, you will find Doctor Shippy to be the most warm, kind, genuine, she’s just your empath, your highly sensitive person, in addition to being a brilliant clinician. So I feel really privileged to have gotten into your schedule today and to catch up with you, we’ve been meaning to get on the phone for a long time, just on a personal level to catch up. So I’m grateful for your work and for you giving us an hour of your time today. Thank you so very much.
Dr. Shippy: Oh, thanks for having me.